One of the scariest possibilities about being in a relationship is being cheated on. We all know how prevalent cheating is in our society. There are dating websites for people in relationships, and an infinite number of songs about cheating, being cheated on or lusting after someone else’s partner. They’re probably some of your favorite songs. When most people think of cheating, they automatically jump to sex or denying that you’re in a relationship. Other than that, it gets real tricky about what should and should not be considered cheating.
What you usually hear are blanket statements that cover every possible scenario; such as “trying to hide something,” or “anything you wouldn’t do in front of your partner.” Well, what if it’s something a person doesn’t hide is it still considered cheating? Does the intent have to be with the purpose of dating or having sex for it to be considered cheating? And if sex is the deciding factor, does that mean our relationships are defined by sex?
Is paying for one of your co-worker’s lunch cheating? I know a guy who paid for the entire group’s lunch and his girlfriend got mad because there was a woman present. I also know a woman who said she broke up with a guy because her dude lended one of his homegirls some money and she said that’s cheating. Another friend of mine told me she doesn’t want her man doing anything for another woman.
Some say flirting is cheating. But there’s friendliness and lightweight flirting that happens without even being noticed. In the south, we call everyone some type of pet name or add a compliment like sweetheart, darling or beautiful. But that is totally different than throwing yourself at someone trying to get their attention.
Is exchanging personal emails or text messages cheating? You can totally destroy someone’s networking possibilities if they can’t talk to other people, and it’s borderline extreme to expect that every single conversation will only be work-related.
What about dancing? A young lady explained to me that she broke up with her boyfriend because he went on an all-guys trip to Trinidadian Carnival and she saw a video of him dancing with another woman. People think dancing is cheating because we’ve lost all of the cultural significance of dancing and have turned it into something sexual only. Another woman said she considers a man going to the strip club and watching porn cheating. She has essentially outlawed fantasy.
You’re probably thinking, “You shouldn’t have to spell out everything..just use common sense.” Well, unfortunately, you do have to spell out everything these days. The definitions and lines are too blurred. What’s offensive to you may not be offensive to me.
The thing you don’t say is the thing people feel they have permission to do.
We have a whole stage of relationships called “talking,” yet no one actually likes to do the thing that stage is named after. How do we find out if we are compatible with someone? It’s really hard to get someone to be interested in a relationship if it feels like all we’re doing is giving things up and gaining very little.
If it feels like we’re going to spend our entire existencce walking on eggshells around other women, it’s hard to want to commit to that.
It’s irrational to believe that you should know everything your partner talks about, who they talk to or that they need your permission to exist. Have clear understanding, set expectations, and discuss what makes you uncomfortable. Too many people believe that by restricting an action you can prevent something from happening. Honestly, you can do absolutely nothing or everything in your power, but if someone wants to cheat on you, they will find a way. No one wants to have to ask permission to be themselves or report back everything that we do. As hard as it is, relationships are all about the one thing we all have an issue with: trust. That means knowing that they ability to hurt us, but expecting and having faith that they won’t.
Written By: Johnny Brownlee II
Follow Johnny on Instagram: @slin_k_polymath